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RYA issues advice for yacht racers ahead of major events return

by RYA 18 Jun 2021 09:00 BST
An emblematic shot by Carlo Borlenghi who will once again be at the Fastnet Rock to capture boats in the 49th Rolex Fastnet Rock © Rolex / Carlo Borlengh

Ahead of the summer yacht racing season and the return of major events such as the Rolex Fastnet Race, the RYA has issued guidance on the rules around coding requirements for racing yachts.

In a detailed article published on the RYA website, the RYA's coding experts explain what yacht owners need to do to make sure they're legal to compete this summer.

Key points confirmed in the feature include:

  • If you are operating commercially you need to be certificated under the code
  • The exemption within the code for yachts which are racing to not comply with the provisions of the code only applies to yachts which have been certificated under the code
  • This allows them to operate out with their normal area category of operation; not meet the full carriage requirements for safety equipment; not meet the manning requirements provided that they fully comply with the race rules including the relevant sections of the World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations
  • The MCA have clarified to the RYA that a coded boat can operate beyond their normal category of operation when operating under Sec 28 of the code. This means for instance that a yacht coded to CAT 2 (up to 60Nm from a safe haven) could participate in the Fastnet Race (a passage which they would not otherwise be able to make as at times the vessel will be more than 60 miles from a safe haven)
  • The exemption for coding only covers the race itself passage directly to/from the start/finish line. It does not cover any delivery passages for which the vessel should operate within its coding certification

Niall McLeod, the RYA's Racing Services Manager, said: "The requirements around coding and racing can often cause confusion and we know of a number of vessels which have been investigated by the MCA for operating commercially without small commercial vessel certification. We were aware that there was significant concern within the industry that yachts which weren't coded to Cat 1 would not be able to compete in the Fastnet this year and were delighted to receive the clarification from the MCA that this is not the case."

The RYA is authorised by the MCA to act as a Certifying Authority and is able to provide coding services through its network of surveyors. Find out more about the RYA's coding services.

Check out the full guidance on coding for racing yachts here.

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